Kirkden / Idvies Parish Church

Kirkden Church, possible area of location of previous church at Idvies

Summary description

Nothing remains of the medieval church. It was relocated to another site at an uncertain date, but was again rebuilt on that second site in 1825. It was demolished in 1952 apart from short sections of wall.

Historical outline

Dedication: unknown

The first surviving record of this church is in 1243, when it was noted that Bishop David de Bernham dedicated it on 1 September.(1)  It was as a free parsonage that the church was recorded in the rolls of the papal tax-collector in Scotland in 1275, the church of Edewyn being assessed at 17s for tax in the first year of the collection.(2)  Rectors of the church are on record from 1366 when Thomas of Duns, described as Master of Arts, licentiate in Medicine and a student of Theology at the University of Paris, held the cure, which was valued at 12 merks annually.(3)  By the middle of the fifteenth century there appears to have been a close association between the rectors of Idvies and the Church of St Andrews, with David Kay, incumbent in 1460, being a chaplain of Bishop James Kennedy, and in 1466 he and a colleague instituting a new chaplainry in the parish church of Holy Trinity in St Andrews.(4)

Although it is nowhere explicitly stated the connection with St Andrews suggests that the patronage of Idvies may have rested with the bishops and archbishops.  It was possibly through this connection that in 1491 the church appears to have been erected into a canonry and prebend of the collegiate church of St Salvator at St Andrews, with a value of £18.(5)  The papal letter recording this status was issued in favour of a new incumbent, following on the resignation of the previous holder, David Kay, into the hands of the archbishop.  Kay, described as ‘formerly canon of the said church’, i.e. St Salvator’s, may have been presented to a prebend in the collegiate church created at the time of the college’s foundation by Bishop Kennedy, but no formal record of any such relationship exists.  Although Pope Innocent VIII’s letters presented a successor to Kay into the prebend of Idvies in the collegiate church of St Salvator, the union does not appear to have been permanent.  It was next recorded in 1547 as the prebend of Idvies within the collegiate church of St Mary on the Rock, described as lying within the presentation of the queen and the collation of the ordinary, with Master William Hay being presented following on the death of Master Edmund Hay.(6)  How the union with St Salvator’s was dissolved and the annexation to St Mary on the Rock was effected is unknown.  At the Reformation it was recorded as a parsonage in the hands of the same William Hay who was presented in 1547, the fruits being stated at £141 8s 4d.(7)

Notes

1. A O Anderson (ed), Early Sources of Scottish History, ii (Edinburgh, 1922), 524 [Pontifical Offices of St Andrews].

2. A I Dunlop (ed), ‘Bagimond’s Roll: Statement of the Tenths of the Kingdom of Scotland’, Miscellany of the Scottish History Society, vi (1939), 36.

3. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Petitions to the Pope, ed W H Bliss (London, 1896), 525.

4. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xi, 1455-1464, ed J A Twemlow (London, 1921), 600; St Andrews University Library, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/43c.

5. Calendar of Entries in the Papal Registers Relating to Great Britain and Ireland: Papal Letters, xv, 1484-1492, ed M J Haren (London, 1978), no.679.

6. Registrum Secreti Sigilli Regum Scotorum, iii, 1542-1548, eds D Hay Fleming and J Beveridge (Edinburgh, 1936), no.2448.

7. J Kirk (ed), The Books of Assumption of the Thirds of Benefices (Oxford, 1995), 376.  

Summary of relevant documentation

Medieval

Synopsis of Cowan’s Parishes: The parsonage had been erected into a prebend of the collegiate church of St Mary’s, St Andrews, by 1547, with the cure a perpetual vicarage.(1)

Mackinlay notes that the church was ‘in all probability’ dedicated to St Maelrubha.(2)

1366 Thomas de Duns (MA licentiate in Medicine and student of Theology at university of Paris) is rector (value 12 marks).(3)

1406 John de Edvy is rector.(4)

1432 Provision of John Swan to the church (illegitimate), value 40 marks. Exchanges church with Alexander Ogilvy in 1435, and in 1445 Robert de Crannach succeeds Henry.(5)

1460 David Kay (Doctor of Decrees, chaplain of James Kennedy bishop of St Andrews) is rector.(6)

1466 (29 Sept) Charter by David Kay, doctor of decreets, rector of the parish church of Idvie (Idvy), and Sir John Anderson, rector of the parish church of Muckhart , whereby intending to found a chaplainry in the parish church of St Andrews at an altar to be built by them, they with consent of Patrick Graham, bishop of St Andrews give grant and mortify to the Holy Trinity, the Virgin Mary, St Katharine the Virgin, and to the said altar and the chaplain serving thereat, for the safety of the souls of the bishop, themselves, and their families, one tenement each.(7)

1491 Church described as canonry and prebend of St Salvator’s, value £18 sterling.(8)

1503 Church held by Thomas Dickson (MA).(9)

1513 Dispute over the church between Walter Sandilands and David Hay (canon of St Mary’s).(10)

Post-medieval

Books of assumption of thirds of benefices and Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices: The Parish church - William Hey described as parson, value £141 8s 4d (valuation February 1562).(11)

Account of Collectors of Thirds of Benefices (G. Donaldson): Third of parsonage £47 2s 9 1/3d.(12)

1611 (2 Sept) A visitation of the church finds that the kirk of Edvie is in good care.(13)

1749 (30 July) Discussion in the kirk session anent building a new loft in the west end of the church [perhaps indicates that the new church was finished? No reference to it in the presbytery records].(14)

Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev Mr Milligan, 1791): ‘The church was built in the year 1749, the manse was repaired and the offices built in 1783’.(15)

[no reference to older church buildings]

New Statistical Account of Scotland (Rev David Carruthers, 1840): ‘New church erected about 4 years ago [c1836] in the village of Frockheim. The present parish church of Kirkden was built on the site of the old one in 1825’.(16)

Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches (George Hay): 1825; original pulpit.(17)

Notes

1. Cowan, The parishes of medieval Scotland, 84.

2. Mackinlay, Non-Scriptural Dedications, p.176.

3. CPP, 525,

4. CPP, 622.

5. CSSR, iii, 242, CSSR, iv, nos. 79, 181 & 1134.

6. CPL, xi, 600.

7. StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/43c.

8. CPL, xv, no. 679.

9. CPL, no.213.

10. CPL, no.706.

11. Kirk, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, pp. 375-376.

12. Donaldson, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, 9.

13. NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1, fols. 69-70.

14. NRS Kirkden/Idvies Kirk Session, 1735-1827, CH2/227/1, fol. 98.

15. Statistical Account of Scotland, (1791), ii, 510.

16. New Statistical Account of Scotland, (1840), xi, 390.

17. Hay, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, pp. 187 & 246.

Bibliography

NRS Kirkden/Idvies Kirk Session, 1735-1827, CH2/227/1.

NRS Records of the Synod of Fife, 1610-1636, CH2/154/1.

StAUL, Burgh Charters and Miscellaneous Writs, B65/23/43c.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal letters, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

Calendar of entries in the Papal registers relating to Great Britain and Ireland; Papal Petitions, 1893-, ed. W.H. Bliss, London.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1428-32, 1970, ed. A.I. Dunlop; and I.B. Cowan, (Scottish History Society) Edinburgh.

Calendar of Scottish Supplications to Rome 1433-47, 1983, ed. A.I. Dunlop and D MacLauchlan, Glasgow.

Cowan, I.B., 1967, The parishes of medieval Scotland, (Scottish Record Society), Edinburgh.

Donaldson, G., 1949, Accounts of the collectors of thirds of benefices, (Scottish History Society), Edinburgh.

Hay, G., 1957, The Architecture of Scottish Post-Reformation Churches, 1560-1843, Oxford.

Kirk, J., 1995, The books of assumption of the thirds of benefices, (British Academy) Oxford.

Mackinlay, J.M, 1914, Ancient Church Dedications in Scotland. Non-Scriptural Dedications, Edinburgh.

New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, Edinburgh and London.

Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, ed. J. Sinclair, Edinburgh.

Architectural description

Bishop David de Bernham carried out one of his dedications at Idvies on 1 September 1243.(1) By 1547 the church had been erected into a prebend of the college of St Mary on the Rock in St Andrews, with the cure a vicarage perpetual.(2) It is believed that the original site of the church was at a location known as Kirkshade,(3) in the vicinity of NO5320 4732, though nothing now remains in place of either the church or the churchyard.

The church was relocated to another site, at NO 53168 48501. The date at which this was done is unknown, but it was presumably before 1739, since an inscription on the wall at the entrance to the churchyard states ‘M:I:M All ye who enter at this gate o now prepare for your last state 1739’. According to the Statistical Account the church was rebuilt in 1749,(4) and work was presumably nearing completion when there was discussion about building a loft at the west end of the church on 30 July of that year.(5)

The church was again rebuilt ‘on the site of the old one in 1825’.(6) An inscribed tablet giving details of the personnel involved in the rebuilding has been preserved; it records the architect as Andrew Spence, and names the craftsmen as Donald Mackay, James Milne and George Fyfe.

Kirkden Church has since been abandoned in favour of a church at Letham, which was built in 1845 by William Paterson for a congregation formed at the Disruption two years previously.(7) The church at Kirkden was demolished in 1952, but it is assumed that a fragment of it survives in an L-shaped pair of walls at the highest point of the churchyard. The inscribed tablet recording the 1825 reconstruction is set into one of those walls and a war memorial into the other; the burial enclosure of the Lyell of Gardyne family backs onto the latter wall.   

Notes

1. Alan Orr Anderson, Early Sources of Scottish History, Edinburgh, 1922, vol. 2, p. 524.

2. Ian B. Cowan, The Parishes of Medieval Scotland (Scottish Record Society), 1967, p. 84.

3. Andrew Jervise, Memorials of Angus and the Mearns, rev. ed., vol. 2, Edinburgh, 1885, p. 226.

4. Statistical Account of Scotland, 1791-9, vol. 2, p. 510.

5. National Records of Scotland, Kirkden/Idvies Kirk Session, 1735-1827, CH2/227/1, fol. 98.

6. New Statistical Account of Scotland, 1834-45, vol. 11, p. 390.

7. John Gifford, The Buildings of Scotland, Dundee and Angus, New Haven and London, 2012, p. 591.

Map

Images

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  • 1. Kirkden Church, possible area of location of previous church at Idvies

  • 2. Kirkden churchyard

  • 3. Kirkden churchyard, burial enclosures, 1

  • 4. Kirkden churchyard, burial enclosures, 2

  • 5. Kirkden churchyard, gravestone, 1

  • 6. Kirkden churchyard, gravestone, 2

  • 7. Kirkden churchyard, gravestone, 3

  • 8. Kirkden churchyard, inscription by entrance gate

  • 9. Kirkden churchyard, inscription in west burial enclosure

  • 10. Kirkden churchyard, Lyell of Gardyne burial enclosure